Welcome to the Autostar feedback page. This page is intended to provide user comments on using the Meade Autostar, cables, and the Autostar updater software. See the Autostar Info page for information from Meade and other users on the Autostar, cables, and software. Send your comments and tips to firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember, tips described on this site may invalidate the warranties on your ETX and accessories. Neither the submitter nor myself are responsible for any damage caused by using any contributed tips.
Subject: Autostar 2.0g errors Sent: Monday, February 28, 2000 15:17:29 From: email@example.com (Carrie and Ron Mariotti) In response to this message below from "Stantastic," I, too have experienced the exact same error message as described. Any help would be greatly appreciated. I recently purchased a DS-90 and bought the Autostar #495 upgrade. It was at version 1.2. The telescope had a mind of its own! Alignments failed, it would wander off, etc. Meade told me to upgrade to 2.0, so I did. Well, guess what, a little better, but wandering still occurred. Now I have sent them my Controller and both Drive Motors. They claim that there are hardware incompatabilites between an "old" Autostar unit and the "newer" drive motors. We'll see. Great site! I finally found a place that has the support I've been in need of. Is there a way to search the message base for keywords? Thanks, Ron Mariotti Gainesville, VA ---------------------------- Subject: Re: Autostar Guided Tour Info Sent: Wednesday, February 2, 2000 11:07:17 From: Stantastic@aol.com Hi, Kevin... I've got a couple of questions about your post regarding the "Tours" download (found in Mike's "Autostar Info" section (I already tried these steps two weeks ago when the software was first posted): 1) Before you even get to your step (1), when you first connect the Autostar and begin the updater program, does the software automatically grab the "currently" loaded Asteroid, Comet, Satellite, and Guided Tour data from the handbox -- or do you get the following error message?: Library file C:\Program Files\Meade\Autostar\Autostar Update\Ephemerides\LibAsteroid.ROM, couldn't be renamed from C:\Program Files\Meade\Autostar\Autostar Update\Ephemerides\QQTempLibFile.ROM --disk full? I keep getting the above error, am forced to click "OK" and as a result nothing is loaded into the first THREE positions, but the Guided Tours ARE correct. 2) When you execute your step (7), "Send to Ephemerides," is the ONLY thing sent to the handbox JUST a single item marked in the Guided Tour section? Whenever I clicked on "Send to Ephemerides" all of the data in the Asteroid, Comet, Satellite, and GT sections were sent (and since the first 3 contained zero elements due to the initial read error, those 3 ended up being empty in the handbox, but the GT's loaded okay). I think I'm going to try this whole thing again (gag!!!) (for about the 6th or 7th time now) and see if I can get it to work (just one guided tour at a time) -- since 3 tours seem to get loaded from the 2.0g firmware, I'll try to load the other 2 again. Also got a new "Comet" TLE from Meade's web site, and will try to load that as a single item. This may all be a mute point if/when Meade introduces the next rev... clear skies... Stan Glaser firstname.lastname@example.orgMike here: There is a search capability; see the Search link at the top of the menu on the left. It is somewhat limited but does work.
Subject: comets files for autostar Sent: Monday, February 28, 2000 10:24:19 From: email@example.com (frf) I have buy a 90 etx with 497 autostar.He is fantastic I have download the files for update it but the rom for comets,asterod are 0kb size Please can you tell me where can i download then or someone can mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org thank you very much and long life to your site (famous !) hello from France.Mike here: I just downloaded the Comets file from Meade's web site. It was 16K. Click (right-click on Windows?) on the link and do a Save As to save the file on your disk.
I have try that but the file is in text mode and have .cmt extension i have try to drag&drop it to the comet button but the program crash when i try to send to the autostar. please can you mail me the file in rom format ? i wouldn't take too of your time but it would great if you could do that thank you very muchMike here: The file IS a text file not a ROM file.
Subject: Autostar version Sent: Sunday, February 27, 2000 23:02:59 From: MrSchmoo@aol.com May seem like a simple question, but how do you quickly check which version of Autostar software is presently loaded. Also, which is the recommended version, considering some of the problems I have read about (namely "drift" in v2.0) I assume I log onto Meade's site to upgrade. Have you addressed this process in your site? If so, can you give me a reference. Many thanks, Mark KlesmanMike here: When you power on the Autostar you will see (briefly the short version number). To check the full version more leisurely, go to the Statistics menu. As to the recommended version, some users have had good success with the current one although more seemed to like 1.3c. The download instructions are available on Meade's Autostar Update page (linked from the Autostar Information page).
Subject: Hitting endstops with Autostar Sent: Sunday, February 27, 2000 21:54:43 From: email@example.com (Timothy J. Otis) I just added an Autostar unit to my ETX-90 last week, it has software version 1.3b installed on it. I set it up as instructed, trained the drives, aligned it properly and tried to take a guided tour. The scope seemed to track the wrong way to an object and hit the hard stop and kept trying to proceed. This happened a couple of times. I tried to call Meade, but they were "unaware of any such problem with version 1.3". They advised a reset and reinitialization which I have done, but it has been cloudy since so I'm not sue if I was successful. Is this a common problem wit the autostar? If so is there a fix? Also, I am a Mac user although I can run Windows on it, so I should be able to update the software. Is there a cable to connect a Mac to the Autostar? Thanks! Your site has been great help with choosing accessories for the scope and for general information. Tim Otis firstname.lastname@example.orgMike here: See the Autostar Information page for info on updating the Autostar using a Macintosh. As to hitting the stops, it sounds like you may not have set up to the HOME position properly. See the "ETX and Autostar Alignment Tips" also on the Autostar Information page.
Subject: ETX keeps slewing Sent: Sunday, February 27, 2000 19:14:41 From: email@example.com (Derek) Hi ,finally got a chance to get the ETX out lastnight. I started with Alt/AZ Align two star. I still had some problem with keeping object in the field of view with the 26mm and I was Syncing along the way. Also, It seemed whenever I would center a object, and then take my finger off of the arrow button the telescope would then take off and the object would no longer be in the center. Once it stopped moving objects stayed centered. I did the drive training and I think my home position is OK. Any ideas why it keeps moving after I center a object? Still using Ver 1.3 Thanks, DerekMike here: Are you waiting for the BEEP that occurs when the Autostar "thinks" the slew is complete before pressing any key on the controller?
Subject: New Autostar software? Sent: Thursday, February 24, 2000 20:18:36 From: Stantastic@aol.com I was just sittin' here thinkin' (gettin' in trouble again!)... We haven't seen any new updates from Meade for quite a long time now, even though there was an apparent promise of version 2.1 a few weeks back (which still hasn't materialized (kind of "Star Trek"ie there, huh?)) Which makes me hope that the reason it's taking so long is that they're trying to fix all those problems we've been complaining about and are going to put out a real great update that actually works!! Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha --- gotta wake up here -- I think I must be dreaming.... clear skies (well, we had ONE last night, anyway)... Stan Glaser firstname.lastname@example.orgMike here: Seems like software delivery "promises" are usually never kept. As to "clear skies", not here! I still haven't been able to use the new ETX-125EC.
Subject: Re: New Autostar software? Sent: Thursday, February 24, 2000 21:35:42 From: email@example.com (Dick Seymour) Stan asked [editted]: where's Autostar v2.1? Historically (all twice that i've seen), they've had a two-month release cycle. So, although i "worried" that they'd come out with one whilst i wuz on vacation, i suspect that it really won't happen until March 15th. Beware the ephemerIdes of March, as they say... --dick
Subject: Serial Cable Pin-Outs Sent: Monday, February 21, 2000 22:10:12 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Bob Kregel) I'm looking for the pin-outs to make a serial cable to connect my laptop to the Autostar for my ETX-90EC. My PC has a 9 pin connector. I have searched your site and found information regarding the part numbers for connectors and cables but have been unable to find the actual pin-outs. I assume that you use pins 2, 3, 5 on the 9 pin connector but I do not know which pins do they connect to on the handset jack? I'd appreciate it if you could point me in the right direction. I recently purchased my ETX and have found your site to be quite informative. Thanks for your help, Bob Kregel Milwaukee, WIMike here: Would you believe: it is on the Autostar Information page under the Cable information links.
Thanks for your prompt reply. I checked out the site and it looks like it will answer any question I may ever have. I can't believe I couldn't find the site myself. Oh well, thanks again.
Subject: Autostar Serial Cable Pinout Diagram? Sent: Monday, February 21, 2000 10:22:24 From: email@example.com (Scott Goodman) Love the ETX site... someone told me I could find the wiring pinout to make an autostar to PC cable on the site, but I have not been able to locate it. If you know where it is, please mail me. Thanks a bunch. Scott Goodman Laser/Electronics Technician Clausen Instrument Co. Raleigh, NCMike here: Would you believe: it is on the Autostar Information page under the Cable information links.
Thanks Mike. Was one of those Mondays I guess. On a related subject, I tried a 25' LAN Network cable last night as an extension between the ETX and Autostar with no success. I'll look around your site now that I've been enlightened. Thanks again, and clear skies!
Subject: Autostar Control with The Sky Level II Sent: Saturday, February 19, 2000 22:33:32 From: Ottocycle@aol.com Here is my experience with Software Bisque's downloadable Autostar/NexStar patch which let's The Sky v5.0 Level II (Windows) remotely control the scope via the 497's serial port: The Sky invokes a setup "wizard" to: 1) Warn you about looking at the Sun for the umpteenth time. 2) Verify Autostar 497 firmware version (1.3) or later. 3) Verify motor training status (gotta have smart motors). 4) Establish the serial link. (Anybody thinking about Palm Pilot here?) 5) Sync up date, time, lat, long etc. Very important to have local sidereal time match the 497's....had to cheat with 1 minute increments to The Sky's clock. Accurate alignment would make this unnecessary. 6) Remote control established via cross-hair on PC display. 8) Display another warning about the Sun causing thermonuclear blindness. 7) Click on new object to highlight cross-hair > move scope with slew icon. Fun to play with indoors or out...can even program custom sky tours. Clear Skies - Ottocycle [This message also posted on egroups meade-ds board.]
Subject: Re: kep editing by hand Sent: Saturday, February 19, 2000 10:24:35 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (James Lofton) Sorry about the long delay! I agree with you that most users don't bother to get the most out of the system. I was only making noise about those of us that "try" to get the most out of it, and find that the "math", if you will, in the AUTOSTAR, falls short on its end. Don't take me wrong. I do like the ETX/autostar, but so far I havn't seen it live up to the spit and polish ads and write ups I read. I've owned Meade products for over 20 year$, so feel I have earned a small right? to mouth my disapointment some. I have no thought of getting rid of it I might add! Thanks. JamesMike here: Re: the comment about living up to the hype. Does anything? From any company? Marketing is meant to sell products. Tech Support has to deal with the realities of the products.
Subject: Re: screen savers and Autostar Sent: Friday, February 18, 2000 21:15:54 From: email@example.com (Dick Seymour) Oh, font of all ETX specifications, Ya know? the time-out dim-down feature is even listed in your ETX/Nexstar comparison table. http://www.weasner.com/etx/etx-nexstar-specs.html Look for the word "backlight". (i -knew- i'd read it somewhere) --dick (dimly)Mike here: Sometimes information overload gets the best of us!
Subject: screen savers and Autostar Sent: Friday, February 18, 2000 07:43:38 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Dick Seymour) Yes... there is a screen saver (well, battery saver)... As Al reported, after a number of minutes the LED display will fade to black if you don't push anything. I've had it happen a number of times across the 1.3 versions of the firmware. (some of my tests run for hours (indoors), and it always drifts to dimness during them). Since the Autostar has a separate LED for each of the buttons, plus four or so for the readout, it could help when you're on batteries. ---dick (yes, he's back)
Subject: Autostar blanking Sent: Thursday, February 17, 2000 21:08:14 From: email@example.com (John Chalfen) Just read the post about the Autostar blanking and pressing a key. I would have to do some digging to find it, but I do remember a passing mention either in the original Autostar pamphlet or on Meade's site about the LCD dimming to conserve battery power. Mine usually dims (it may go blank depending on the brightness and contrast settings) between 10-20 minutes. I just got so used it that it became normal (can I say that for an Autostar?) for me. Cold weather has some effect on the Autostar, not sure how low it can go. Living in the upper midwest I've used mine pretty chilly. Sometimes not sure if it's me or the Autostar acting up tho'. May have to take it out one day when it's near 0 and see if it works after 30 minutes or so. -------------------------------------------------- --TIA and TTFN (Don't forget to wear your peril sensitive sunglasses.) --Sometimes I think that the surest sign of intellegent life on other planets is the fact that they havent tried to contact us yet. (Bill Watterson, Calvin & Hobbes) firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com (I know...I know...)
Subject: Re: kep editing by hand Sent: Thursday, February 17, 2000 11:06:36 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (James Lofton) As always, thanks..., and you amaze me by your endless help! Seems that it is something the autostar does, or seems to do, but not well enough to really waste ones time with it...?? To me at least, it either will point at and track, or it won't. I don't think they should say it will, when it indeed won't.(fun to watch it "pretending" to tho) I clipped the following from what you had mentioned to another person with the same problem. "Mike here: I suspect that the precision that the Autostar uses is sufficient for its accuracy" Isn't this kinda like saying, "you're not that good a carpenter, so you don't need an accurate tape measure."? To me, if you could load the correct keps into autostar, then atleast it would have a fighting chance at being correct. Sure seems to me that they have a long way to go before they reach the spot that their advertisements say they are. NEWS FLASH....Just got a call from Meade (they heard from my dealer of my problem)and I will report back as they report back to me on this. Nice to know they are trying!! I also think I'll drop Dick a line to see what he has arrived at. Thanks!Mike here: My statement on accuracy was meant to include the whole ETX-Autostar system. Since most users will not go to the trouble of getting that perfect polar alignment or be certain that BOTH alignment stars are in exactly the same position in the eyepiece when confirmed, the system accuracy will be degraded somewhat. Combined with the inexpensive drive mechanisms in the ETX (compared to the LX200 series, for example), you have a system where precision is limited.
Subject: kep editing by hand Sent: Wednesday, February 16, 2000 14:10:08 From: email@example.com (James Lofton) Hi again, this likely has been covered before, but was unable to find it. I have been unable to update my keps by hand. By that I mean, I am not able to enter them correctly. It seems that AUTOSTAR has certain "field sizes" that one can not change. That is understandable in a data base, but some of the kep data is more numbers than AUTOSTAR will allow put in, while other fields are longer on AUTOSTAR and I have to just "zero" it out to the end. I feel that this is causing the error in the track. Am I missing something here? Can someone explain how this entered CORRECTLY via one at a time.? Thanks,JamesMike here: Check the "Satellite Tracking" info on the Autostar Information page. I think this has what you are looking for.
Unless i'm looking right past this, I just can't find anything about DOING it. It does mention GOING to a place that will tell how, but it isn't there. Just the section about SETUP. To enter an individual element into the Autostar, follow the instructions in the online Autostar Manual. This is the place where you SHOULD be able to click on "instructions" to get there. When I do, it's a blind alley. I'm beginning to think the same guy also writes a maze game! :-) I did find "again" where Meade says they have a software version of epoch 2000, called "jr". No where else have I ever seen it mentioned, and my dealer has never heard of it. An interesting thing happens when I entered the ISS keps by hand today. The scope starts tracking, then reverses directions for a couple of seconds, then reverses again but faster now(as to catch up), only to reverse 3 or 4 more times before the path is over. I guess I should find all this amusing...?, but I don't. Something tells me I havn't begain to have fun. Thanks.Mike here: Oops. Sorry about that. Check the November 1999 Autostar Feedback page (in the Feedback archives) for Dick Seymour's message "adding elements and links". Maybe that is what you are looking for.
Subject: Autostar in cold temps Sent: Monday, February 14, 2000 17:52:04 From: OptiquesJeff@worldnet.att.net (Jeffrey Nutkowitz) Regarding the use of the Autostar in 'cold' temps, I can readily report that I have used it numerous times in temps well below 32 deg f, and even as low as 19 deg F., and have never had a temperature related problem. There has to be something else wrong if there are problems with it at temps like 38 deg. 38 degrees should be a virtual non-issue for these kinds of electronic devices. Jeffrey Nutkowitz/Optiques Classic Photographic Imagery Freelance Outdoor and Nature Photography Emphasizing a 'Sense of Place' http://members.aol.com/OptiquesJN
Subject: ETX AutoStar update to 2.0g Sent: Monday, February 14, 2000 15:53:11 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Barnes & Davis) So far so good. Almost a month ago I updated my ETX firmware and have been waiting for a clear night. First night I could try, I broke the dec shaft (quickly and unquestionly replaced by the local scope store). My scope is a 90mm and has the deluxe field tripod. I mounted a Rigel finder on the ETX (highly recommended). I run in Alt Az unless I'm taking photos. 1 - I retrained the motors. No problems there. 2 - I confirmed my location, it had "remembered". 3 - Started to do alignment and the handbox stopped everything. I thought I had hit a hardstop, but when I looked at the display it gave a bunch of recommendations from batteries, to hardstop, to something in the way, etc. Then it rebooted. Wow, I never saw that before. I checked the items it noted and it must have been a voltage drop (I had been doing some sun spotting during the day). Fresh batteries and we're off again. 4 - For Easy Align it picked Sirius and Capella. Didn't do too good, about 4 or 5 degrees away from either which is outside the Finder's FOV, but is easy to pick up in the Rigel "bullseye". About as well as my earlier version ever did. Centered the stars in the 26mm by defocusing alot to get a big bright disk that is easy to center in the field of view (FOV). 5 - Tried some stars: Alderbaran in FOV, Beltelguese in FOV, Rigel in FOV, Regulus about 1/4 degree out of FOV, Sirius in FOV, and Mizar in FOV. Made a return trip to all of these with the same success. Too much light pollution to pickout the more interesting stuff. NOTE - I always start looking when the slewing slows down and wait a bit past the tone for the backlash of the gears to work out. I think pushing the direction keys too soon, even when you see the target, messes up the backlash (i.e. training) correction. Leave the AutoStar alone, let it do the work. 6 - Tried the "Tonight's Best" and "How far is far?" tours. Not too bad, would be good for someone new to the hobby or to prompt the leader of a group. Didn't take "Tonight's Best" all the way to stars (where some have reported problems). I had to press and hold the MODE key to get out of the tour. "How far is far?" is short and ran fine. 7 - Temp was about 45 F, not too cold unless you had an 80+ F day (like Austin had), and the handbox worked fine. I'll try some more features and report what happens. Overall -- I'm glad I upgraded. My thanks to the Mighty Weasner for a great forum. Clear skies y'all.
Subject: Re: AutoStar and Blanking Sent: Monday, February 14, 2000 05:54:24 From: email@example.com (Fink,Al) I read a couple of different posts this morning concerning the AutoStar and blanking and most were concerned about cold or a faulty unit...I have not seen anything in the manual about a screen saver but that's what I would call it. I have found that when I set up on ...say the Orion Nebula and just start tracking I'll walk away just to check how long it will track properly, I'll return in about 45 minutes or an hour check the scope sure enough the Nebulas right there where I left it centered in my eyepiece just like it's supposed to be, but the Auto Star will be blank...I just touch any of the menu keys, not a direction arrow or it will slew...like it is supposed to do, and the screen will be back, I'm. not much good with computers in general but I just took it for granted it was just working like a screen saver, anyway it works that way for me, maybe ignorance is bliss, maybe too many of us are so used to things going wrong with the AutoStar we just conclude when something is different it must be another bug. Why don't a couple of others run a timed tracking test and see if their screens turn themselves off when not touched for awhile...it may turnout to be a plus especially if you are tracking a particular object for a couple of hours like timing the changing positions of Jupiter's moons or such, just a thought ...clear skies, AlMike here: There could be a screen saver (power saver) mode after a long period without touching the keypad. But there does seem to be some cold weather concerns as well.
Oh, no doubt about cold weather concerns especially for those east of us that live on the left coast. I was out at Joshua tree a few weeks ago 5 hour continuous at under 28 degrees nary a problem...but I was using a power supply and not the eight AA batteries. But that was our cold, not really cold to those who live where that would have been a warm high for the day. Haven't had the opportunity to see at what point the electrons freeze inside their copper homes. Clear skies Al Fink
Subject: ETX Accessories and more Autostar Sent: Saturday, February 12, 2000 21:51:47 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Thomas Brown) Following through on my several posts on the "Autostar in the cold" question, I had the unit blank out on me for what must have been the seventh time. Seeing that there aren't numerous posts about the display blanking whenever it is a little cold, I must assume that something is wrong with the Autostar. Anyhow, I've returned it to Meade. Let's see what they do. Without the Autostar I set up the regular controller for equatorial use [by removing the "A" screw]; and have been quite pleased with the tracking using the field tripod. My latest acquisition is the Kendrick Kwik Focus. This is a lens cap with three holes in it. When the three images merge into one, you're in focus. Pretty useful in times of mediocre seeing, so you don't have to endlessly fiddle with the focus, and can wait for the moments of clarity. A low tech solution [you could probably make one yourself pretty easily] which works well [Kendrick claims that if the star images merge your scope is properly collimated; glad to say mine seems to be]. The other low tech solution to the miserable little focus knob on the ETX is using a clothespin as a focuser extension, a great suggestion which someone on this site made quite some time ago. This works well enough for me so that I think I can do without an electric focuser! Tom BrownMike here:There have been a few reports of cold weather affecting the Autostar.
Subject: Re: Polar Alignment menu Sent: Saturday, February 12, 2000 17:23:54 From: Ronald08@aol.com I know where the alt/az menu is, I just cant seem to find the Polar Alignment menuMike here: When in the Polar Align mode, the star selection is the same process: one or two stars or easy. Does this help?
Ohhh, okay, great, I'll try it out and notify you how it works, thanx a lot!
Subject: cold WX AUTOSTAR..?? Sent: Saturday, February 12, 2000 08:04:51 From: email@example.com (James Lofton) Just tried out my AUTOSTAR for the first time last night. Fresh set of batterys and the outside temp was 41 degrees at start, dropping to 38 by the time we came back in, LESS THAN ONE HOUR LATTER. Reason for coming back in..: AUTOSTAR went blank. The drive was still tracking and I could turn the power off for a minute, and then back on, and it would light back up for 4 or 5 seconds. Back in the house(10 min. warm up period)the thing worked perfectlly, and the batterys showed to be 98%+. Is this normal? There were "glows" coming from AUTOSTAR, but the display was off. I would think that 38 degrees would not be considered too cold for it. Any thoughts or suggestions? GREAT site! Whis I would have found it before this morning. James, in the high plains of NMMike here: There have been similar reports. One solution that was offered was to keep the Autostar in a pocket. You could also use an electric or chemical "handwarmer".
Like the site..., ?, I LOVE the site! I went back latter and spent a little more time with it and what a weath of information you have there. All that AND you actually answer e-mail!! Thanks for the quick answer, even tho I was hoping the thing would operate in colder temps. Thanks again for a great site.
Subject: Autostar alignment Sent: Friday, February 11, 2000 15:01:33 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Alfonso Gomez) Dear Sir, Congratulations and many thanks for your most enjoyable site. I want to ask your advice as I am very frustrated after several unsuccessful attempts to use my ETX-90 with Autostar in the Chilean sky (-39º). According to the manual, it can be used in both hemispheres, but althought I seem to follow every single instruction, I have not been able to complete a successful easy alignment (and I think I am not that stupid!) Is there a place where I can get higly detailed instructions for this? Is Autostar currently capable of working in the Southern Hemisphere? I'll be most grateful for your help! Alfonso
Subject: Autostar Firmware: drift after GOTO Sent: Friday, February 11, 2000 14:42:59 From: Pierre.Henrotay@skynet.be (Pierre Henrotay) To: email@example.com Autostar Version 2.0G, ETX90-EC Object drifts away just after being centered Align in AltAz mode using 2 stars, then Goto an object. A beep signals that the centering is complete and indeed the object lies with the eyepiece FOV (1 degree). BUT the scope does not switch immediately to tracking mode (which has a quieter sound): the motors still grind, the scope continues to move and the object disappears from the FOV within a few seconds; the object is now between 1 and 2 degrees ways from the center of the eyepiece (in vertical/Dec direction). Try to bring back the object to the center using the handbox: just after the object is centered and the arrow is released, the drift takes place again and brings back the object to the outside. The trick seems to be to keep in mind which direction the object moved to, to wait a sufficient long time for the motors to be quiet, then to re-center the object.
Subject: Re: ETX Autostar Firmware Update Problems... Sent: Friday, February 11, 2000 12:33:25 From: Stantastic@aol.com Are you sure that you have the #497 Autostar model (for the ETX) and are loading the ROM files for that model? The ROM files for the #495 Autostar have the same revision (i.e., 2.0g), but they are not interchangeable. If I were you, I'd go back to Meade's web site and double check to make sure you downloaded the correct set of files (it's the 6th "paragraph" down in the download list, if that helps), starting with: ETX Autostar model #497 ROMS20g.zip (353,954 bytes) Hope that helps, Stan Glaser firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Re: Installing Autostar Update Sent: Friday, February 11, 2000 12:00:39 From: Stantastic@aol.com Walter Warren wrote: <
> Yes, Warren, that's correct. As soon as you put the Autostar into "Download" mode, the updater begins to read the current Asteroid, Comet, Satellite, and Guided Tours data that is in the Autostar handbox. From there, you can continue with the update...although, if you've read my comments (and Dick Seymour's) on Mike's site about all the problems we've been having, you might change your mind!!!! (Just a fair warning...) Stan Glaser email@example.com
Subject: Versions Sent: Thursday, February 10, 2000 19:20:08 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Rasmussen) I recently sent you a message regarding "drift" after installing Autostar V2.0g. I have not resolved the problem and noted another user posted a similar problem. Fortunately for him, he had a copy of V1.3 to reinstall. For the other less fortunate such as myself who didn't backup, is there a sight that I can download older versions of Autostar such as V1.3? Meade does not post older versions. Meade asked me to submit the problem via fax today, which I have done. Perhaps they are getting similar complaints as mine. Regards, Paul RasmussenMike here: I'm not aware of an archive site. I'll see if I can get a copy of the original zipped file from Meade that I can post here.
Subject: Polar Alignment menu Sent: Thursday, February 10, 2000 14:57:49 From: Ronald08@aol.com In the Autostar Alignment Tips page, it says that there are 6 modes of Alignment. I went into "align" menu, I selected One Star, and it had given me a list of names of stars. Is this the Polar Alignment mode? How do i get to the Polar menus??? Thank you again! -AaronMike here: You have to set the mount type (Alt/Az or Polar) first. That's in the Setup menu, I think (been awhile since I worked with the Autostar).
Subject: Autostart User Manual Sent: Tuesday, February 8, 2000 23:16:33 From: email@example.com (Al Testani) Jennifer Lohman asked in her "New ETX owner!" post about the Autostar "user's manual". I found it lacking as well, at least the small one that came with the Autostar if that is what is still shipping. The one available for download from Meade's site is *a lot* better. __________________ Al Testani firstname.lastname@example.org __________________
Subject: Installing Autostar Update Sent: Tuesday, February 8, 2000 21:00:43 From: email@example.com (Walter Warren) Last November I tried updating the software in my Autostar #497. During the process it crashed the Autostar so that it wouldn't restart and I had a version without safe mode. Meade was unable to repair it and simply sent me a new one. That new one just arrived with version 1.3b software, and I'm considering trying to update again, but I'm a little nervous about the procedure and hoped somebody could ease my nerves. I downloaded and installed the newest updater, which placed .ROM files into the ephemerides directory. When I run the updater it sees the Autostar plugged into my com port, but prompts me to put the Autostar into download mode before the main updater screen ever appears. So far I've stopped at that point because I'm not sure that's correct. I expected the updater screen to first appear and let me click on the button to send new software to the autostar. Assuming it is doing it right, will it actually take 20 minutes like the instructions indicate? Can you ease my nerves about what should happen and when? Walter Warren
Subject: ETX AutoStar Firmware Update Problems Sent: Tuesday, February 8, 2000 19:37:05 From: GAZERGREG@aol.com Has anyone else reported this problem in trying to update the ETX AutoStar firmware? I have downloaded and installed the 2.0 Update Tool (which includes firmware version 2.0e) as well as the autostar.rom and dbase.rom versions 2.0g. I have tried to upload the new firmware using both versions 2.0e and 2.0g of the firmware, and when I do I get the following error message "Your AutoStar cannot upload this version of autostar.rom. A non-ETX Autostar is required to upload this version of the firmware." TRUST ME I have downloaded the ETX versions of all files. I have tried it three times on two different computers with no luck. Adding to my previous e-mail, I am trying to go from version 1.0 to the new 2.0e or g of the firmware. Can you e-mail to me version 1.3---Maybe I will have better luck trying that first, as most of the people on your site seem to have started there. Please help if you can. Reply to firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Polar Alignment for the ETX 90 EC Sent: Tuesday, February 8, 2000 18:18:13 From: Ronald08@aol.com Hello again, I am not sure if you remember me but I had asked you previously on aligning the telescope. Well, I am having a much easier time thanks to your helpful advice. My next question for you is on Polar Alignment. I have the Deluxe Field Tripod and my latitude is 42 degrees. So I positioned the angle to 42. My question is in pointing the telescope due north, I am supposed to point the northern leg of the tripod north. Where does is the telescope supposed to point? Also, what degree should it be on? Is it supposed to be on the home posistion? Do I turn the telescope counter-clockwise, and then turn it clockwise until it is over the computer console? Also, I have the Autostar. What menu option do I go to in order to "Polar Align"? Thanks again for your time and considderation!!! P.S. I said a question, sorry it was multiple questions! -AaronMike here: Check the Autostar Information page on my site. There is a link to the Alignment tips page.
Subject: Autostar 2.0 Drift Sent: Tuesday, February 8, 2000 15:01:47 From: Warren_Pugh-CFIN25@email.mot.com (Pugh Warren-CFIN25) Well, the drift problem continues. I re-installed the old version 1.3 (glad I kept it in another directory), retrained the drives, etc. No drift problem. So, I put version 2.0 back in the Autostar, re-trained the drives, and the drift problem returns. It does a reasonable job of parking the scope close to the selected object, sometimes in the eyepiece, but mostly a bit outside of it. But always in the finder scope. When I try to adjust the scope to put the object in the center of the 26 mm eyepiece, it almost immediately drifts to the right of the eyepiece. Since the objects were Saturn/Jupiter ( in the South sky) it seems like the scope is accelerating its RA motion. But once it gets to the far right side of the eyepiece, it stays there. All the above testing was done in the AzEle mode. As an aside, a couple times over the weekend, the scope went into the "runaway slew" mode. This Autostar was purchased last Spring, and has worked fine for 9 months. It seems strange that it would fail suddenly, leaving me wondering if this is a hardware or software problem. Anybody else seeing this drift problem? WarrenMike here: There have been similar reports with 2.0.
Subject: Sky Guides and electric focus for ETX90 Sent: Tuesday, February 8, 2000 07:42:48 From: email@example.com (Bill Dean) I see some of your readers have run across the hassle of using the electric focus and Autostar when taking a Sky Tour. I too struggled with this little glitch for an evening and resorted to using the dedicated focus keypad for tours and then switching the focuser cable back to the aux port for focus with the Autostar handset when I'm done. Seems to be working fine for me, switching "hot" that is, but of course YMMV. Great site- thanks alot Mike. I wish I had run across it earlier but even with the ETX90's many problems I still find it to be a great scope for the size and plenty of fun too. Keep up the great work! Bill
Subject: RE: Autostar Firmware: MODE, Guided Tours and focuser Sent: Sunday, February 6, 2000 10:42:23 From: OptiquesJeff@worldnet.att.net (Jeffrey Nutkowitz) Hi This is the kind of situation I was asking about with regard to using the electric focuser via its own dedicated hand control. Until (and if) the focuser sequence in the Autostar is consistent, this is the kind of 'annoyance' that using the dedicated controller for the focuser simply avoids. So far, though, this particular one seems only to have been reported when using a tour. And thanks to everyone who replied to my previous posting regarding the focuser. So far, I have not even had a chance to install it, let alone use it, and I am still using v1.0c !! of the Autostar, in which the focuser sequence is not the best, from what I understand. I have plans to give my little ETX its 'one year tune up' so to speak, making all changes I have been planning, and putting off for assorted reasons, pretty much all at one time...adding and aiming the 8x25 Right Angle Finder (I dread this, as those little plastic set screws, and the cramped locations of them, are hell to work with), installing the Electric Focuser, updating the Autostar and retraining drives (something else I have dreaded...I have been getting quite satisfying results from the admittedly buggy original v1.0c, have been able to work around the few bugs I have encountered, and I have had no desire to fix something that is not really broken), and giving it a workout, trying the different configurations for the Focuser controls, trying my hand at writing and uploading my own tours, and so on. Jeffrey Nutkowitz/Optiques Classic Photographic Imagery Freelance Outdoor and Nature Photography Emphasizing a 'Sense of Place' http://members.aol.com/OptiquesJN
Subject: Autostar Firmware: MODE, Guided Tours and focuser Sent: Sunday, February 6, 2000 05:27:29 From: Pierre.Henrotay@skynet.be (Pierre Henrotay) To: firstname.lastname@example.org Version 2.0G Select one of the Guided Tours Use the arrows at bottom of handbox to select one object (this takes a while) Goto that object Now try to use the electric focuser via the Autostar, by pressing MODE for a few seconds instead of getting the prompt from the focuser, you get back to the list of tours ! Quite inconvenient: to select the next object from the current tour, you have to reenter the whole sequence again
Subject: Autostar Firmware: events incorrect Sent: Sunday, February 6, 2000 05:27:22 From: Pierre.Henrotay@skynet.be (Pierre Henrotay) To: email@example.com Version 2.0G Sunrise and Sunset, Moonrise and Moonset are still all wrong: for Lat 50 deg 35 min N Lon 5 deg 50 min E TZ +1 no daylight saving Feb 6, 2000 Autostar gives: sunrise 8H10 should be 8H04 sunset 17H30 should be 17H38 moonrise 8H27 should be 8H43 moonset 18H19 should be 18H40 (form WinEphem and Skymap Pro, +-1 min accuracy) Funny: for moonrise and moonset, the results of the Autostar depend on the TIME entered in the handbox !!!
Subject: Autostar Sent: Saturday, February 5, 2000 19:34:22 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Ward & Marcia Bates) Here's the problem I have run into and need help. My computer has a 9-pin serial interface which is being used by my mouse. Next to it on the same board is a 25-pin serial interface. I placed a 25-pin to 9-pin adapter on the 25-pin serial adapter. The only way that I could get my computer to recognize the 25-pin port was to change the BIOS settings on the Internal Peripherals from Auto to COM1/3f8 and COM2/2f8. This allowed the software to recognize the Autostar but that in turn disabled my modem. I successfully upgraded my Autostar to 2.0e (or it appears that everything was successful). My question is, does anyone have a good explanation about COM port settings. Why am I only seeing two com ports in my BIOS but three in my Control Panel\System/Device Manager. Right at this point it is possible to change between Downloading the Autostar or using the modem by changing the BIOS settings from "Auto" to one of the above port settings. Ward
Subject: Version 4.0 Drift Sent: Saturday, February 5, 2000 10:41:32 From: WarrenPugh@aol.com I'm having the same problem as another fellow reported a few days ago. I installed the new 4.0 update and I DID retrain the drives. When I GO-TO an object and make the fine adjustment to center in the eyepiece, it just drifts out of view, almost like it's being "pulled". Even if I manually slew to an object (Jupiter) it won't stay put. The drift is much faster than normal RA. The object is "pulled" to the right of the eyepiece. So, just to make sure I wasn't dreaming, I reinstalled version 1.3. The problem goes away. I went back to the standard hand controller and changed to Polar mounting, and the scope tracks just fine. Does this sound like a hardware or software problem? Thanks for the continued great job on the site. Regards, Warren Pugh, KC9ILMike here: Boy, did you throw me a loop! I frantically went to Meade's update site to check for 4.0. Only 2.0 was there. Typo or did your email get thrown out of its normal timestream??? Anyway, check your location/date/time/mount settings in the Autostar. If they are incorrect you'll get drifting. If they are OK something is wrong. You might try reloading the upgrade.
You are right, it was version 2.0. Typo on my part. I will try to reload and double check everything. Thanks for the quick response.
Subject: Autostar Sent: Saturday, February 5, 2000 10:35:46 From: email@example.com (CHRISTIAN) I'd like to know if someone could send me the original Meade files for Autostar: Libsatellite.rom, Libasteroid.rom, and Libcomet.rom. I lost all of then when I was trying to learn how to use the "fantastic", "bugless" last version of Meade Autostar Update. Thanks, Christian firstname.lastname@example.orgMike here: I guess there is a lesson here: back up important data (i.e., the Autostar data) before doing an upgrade. Applies to almost any software application upgrade.
Subject: ETX-LibAsteriod .rom file empty Sent: Thursday, February 3, 2000 17:22:59 From: DBousquet@aol.com Like many others I too am having difficulty with the upgrade. However, I have not had any serious problems with the exception of somehow losing all my asteriod data. The libasteriod.rom file is 0kb in size. I was wondering if you or someone else may be able to e-mail the file to me? I was able to load the new software and tour files, but not asteriod data. I am a real fan of the site it's excellent. Keep up the good work!!
Subject: Re: Autostar Guided Tour Info Sent: Thursday, February 3, 2000 10:51:41 From: Stantastic@aol.com well, I finally did it -- deleted all Meade software from VirtualPC and reloaded it and started from scratch -- WAS able to read in all the "current" data from the Autostar -- then tried to drag-and-drop one tour at a time and see what would happen. Each time though, instead of completing the "compile," it hung. Restarted the program and found that the tour DID get inserted into the library. Went ahead and did a "Send to Ephemeredies" and the NEW tour (along with ALL the OTHER data files -- Asteroids, Comets, etc.) got sent to the Autostar. Repeated the entire process two more times (including the software freeze) for the other tour, and a new Comet TLE file that Meade posted -- so, even though the software hung, froze, and had to be restarted through each step, I DID eventually get everything loaded -- but it was NOT a fun trip!! Hope the next rev cleans up some of the mess... BTW, it is "sorta" fun trying to figure all this stuff out (but I really feel sorry for the novices who have to deal with software that's buggy, a new telescope, sometimes a new computer, etc. -- and all at the same time -- some people don't know how to connect the handbox to their computer, the cables don't work -- it goes on and on...) take care... clear skies... Stan Glaser email@example.com
Subject: tonight's batch sent to engineer@meade Sent: Wednesday, February 2, 2000 22:46:20 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Dick Seymour) Three in one here: =================== Autostar #497, ETX90/EC, Windows 95, Updater A-2.0 (Jan 14th, 2000), lotsa disk and ram... In the Satellites, Tours, Asteroids, Comets... if i have "deleted" an item... please provide a button which really -does- remove them forever from the libraries. In the Sat,Tours, Ast, Comets: Please provide a
button. Using the drop-down list to individually add thirty satellites is very, very painful. In the Satellites (and probably Comets)... many of the sub-dialog (or Alert) boxes refer only to Asteroids. It's confusing. If i'm dealing with Satellites, please call them that. There's also an alert box in there with three "eee" s in the midst of a mispelled word. (it's some word with "ed" added to it, and i'm not going back in there to find it...) Give me an -obvious- button which causes the [download Ephemerises to Autostar] button to appear. There are times when i -want- to send the Ephemerii, and i do NOT want to have to "edit" something (which wasn't broken) in order to make that button appear. It would seem that the only way to get the "Save User Datablock (yes/no)" dialog box to appear is to download a new program. Why? I'd -like- to save it almost anytime i'm preparing to do battle with the Updater, since the Updater keeps managing to lose my User data. How's about edit/load/download mechanisms for Landmarks, User Objects, etc., similar to what you provide for Sats, Comets and Asteroids? Sincerely (really! still!) ======================================== Request: an LX200-dialog (i.e. rs232 to Autostar during -normal- operation (not Download)) method of adding Satellite (and Asteroid and Comets and...) TLEs. They can go in either ASCII or binary, that's not important. But it'd be handy to not have to "put the Autostar at risk" to simply, easily, add a few TLEs. so it'd be (hypothetically) #STMIR,2000,025.12345,57.0925,etc: (ST=Satellite Tle) thank you in advance ==================================================== When entering/editing/whatever Satellite TLEs, how's about making the ID number (such as Mir's 16609) one of the recorded/displayed fields? I realize you're trying to minimize type-in load, but there are many satellites with multiple names, and the numbers would keep 'em organized. It would also allow the Updater to recognize duplicates and request/take appropriate action. An example is Lacrosse 3, also known as USA 3. Its ID number is 25017 ... but, possibly because it's a "spy" satellite, it doesn't even appear in NASA's Visible TLE file... but it's frequently better than 3rd magnitude and, in a near-polar orbit, a handsome pass overhead here in Seattle. My current workaround for this is to include the ID number in the Name (hence MIR 16609). But that doesn't help when i drag-and-drop bulk TLEs into Updater. Updater (at least) could help by having the ID number as one of the visible fields. (there's probably a similar Asteroid number, too) thanks --richard seymour 206-xxx-yyyy (except for the next two weeks)(i want it all fixed when i get back...)
Subject: Re: Autostar Guided Tour Info Sent: Wednesday, February 2, 2000 22:13:12 From: email@example.com (Dick Seymour) Kevin and Stan were corresponding: These are quotes from Kevin's answers: > (1) I used to get that error message, but don't anymore, and I don't know > why. Regardless, this has not caused a problem using the utility for > whatever purpose intended. > I suspect that the error message arises from one of two areas: (1) the first time it runs, it's trying to rename a file. But if the file doesn't -exist-, it can't rename it. The second time through the file -does- exist, and everything's happy. or, conversely (with an experiment for you to try at home! (not you, Mac-Mike)) (2) the file -does- exist... and the Updater is trying to rename another file onto that existing name. DOS/Windows don't let ya DO that!. Experiment: in WindowsExplorer, or DOS, create two disposable files (one.txt and two.txt). Now, try renaming one.txt to two.txt. (by clicking in Windows, or the RENAME command in DOS). It won't let you. Again, once the Updater program has gone through a full cycle, the what-should-be-called-what has gotten hammered into the shape it wants, and further attempts to confuse, er, download the Autostar proceed without that particular error reoccurring (unless, of course, one blows it all away for a Kevin-style clean new dash towards the brick wall...) Simple. And not caught in MEade-alpha-testing because their systems were already "polluted" with the hammered files due to previous attempts. > > (2) Any file sent to the Autostar should also have
next to it, > then "APPLY CHANGES" should prep those "marked" files to be sent, > before clicking "FINISHED". Then click "Send to Ephemerides Data". > Although I seem to recall that sometimes only one marked tour will be > sent at a time. Just keep trying until you see all of the Guided Tours > on the Autostar. > One of my gripes with the Satellite sections is that you have to each satellite -individually-. Egads... there can be hundreds of them. Even the "thirty" TLE file gets very, very tedious using the stupid drop-down menu to each one. At least there are only a few Tours. > > Hope that helps. The utility tool is still bug-filled, in my opinion, so > what I describe may not work for everybody. One more thing - I've started > from scratch many times by totally overwriting the utility tool by > reinstalling it. But remember, when you reinstall it, you will get version > 2.0e if you do not REPLACE the autostar.rom and dbase.rom files from > Meade's web page, which when loaded using the tool will then give you 2.0g. > Yes... i still can't believe they haven't brought the "complete kit" to v2.0g. --dick
Subject: autostar #495 Sent: Wednesday, February 2, 2000 20:11:48 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Mike Sarrafian) Not sure if you can help, but this is a start. I have a DS-127-EC with the Autostar #495. I upgraded the firmware (A2.0) and loaded the new database (2.0g), I think? I level the scope and set it to it's home position (pointing to true north). I begin the Easy alignment and it finds Sirius okay, a slight centering and we're there. It then slews to Aldebaran, ok. No error with the alignment. Then I 'goto' the Orion constellation and it missed it by 10-20 degrees. I misses it so much it goes west (left) past Sirius. Then I 'goto' Sirius and it has no trouble finding that or Polaris. Any ideas about what I'm doing wrong. Surely it can't be the Autostar! Any help would be appreciated. MikeMike here: Have you retrained the drives since upgrading? Added later:
That's the one thing I haven't done. I even set the correct Long/Lat for my location, thanks to MapBlast.com. I'll give it a try and let you know what happens. I just joined the local astronomy club and we meet this weekend, maybe someone there can offer some insight. Your website has been useful, even though it's geared toward the ETX.
Subject: Autostar Update File Problem Sent: Wednesday, February 2, 2000 14:42:32 From: email@example.com (Caesar, Paul) I am having the same problems as Stan with several error messages in a row about not being able to rename files in the Ephemerides directory. So, I can't add or edit items. Does anyone know of a way to communicate successfully with Meade? All I can get is voice-mail. Paul Caesar San Diego, CAMike here: Fax (949-451-1460) can also work. To report bugs use firstname.lastname@example.org.
Subject: Re: autostar Sent: Wednesday, February 2, 2000 11:57:18 From: email@example.com (Kevin Berg) First you need to download each tour file from Meade's web page to your hard drive, then drag/drp the file from there. On Wed, 2 Feb 2000, dsiegel wrote: > Read your note on Weasners site- a question remains--Drag and drop from > where? Do you use the Windows explorer? Thanks, Drew
Subject: Re: Autostar Guided Tour Info Sent: Wednesday, February 2, 2000 11:07:17 From: Stantastic@aol.com Hi, Kevin... I've got a couple of questions about your post regarding the "Tours" download (found in Mike's "Autostar Info" section (I already tried these steps two weeks ago when the software was first posted): 1) Before you even get to your step (1), when you first connect the Autostar and begin the updater program, does the software automatically grab the "currently" loaded Asteroid, Comet, Satellite, and Guided Tour data from the handbox -- or do you get the following error message?: Library file C:\Program Files\Meade\Autostar\Autostar Update\Ephemerides\LibAsteroid.ROM, couldn't be renamed from C:\Program Files\Meade\Autostar\Autostar Update\Ephemerides\QQTempLibFile.ROM --disk full? I keep getting the above error, am forced to click "OK" and as a result nothing is loaded into the first THREE positions, but the Guided Tours ARE correct. 2) When you execute your step (7), "Send to Ephemerides," is the ONLY thing sent to the handbox JUST a single item markedAnd:
in the Guided Tour section? Whenever I clicked on "Send to Ephemerides" all of the data in the Asteroid, Comet, Satellite, and GT sections were sent (and since the first 3 contained zero elements due to the initial read error, those 3 ended up being empty in the handbox, but the GT's loaded okay). I think I'm going to try this whole thing again (gag!!!) (for about the 6th or 7th time now) and see if I can get it to work (just one guided tour at a time) -- since 3 tours seem to get loaded from the 2.0g firmware, I'll try to load the other 2 again. Also got a new "Comet" TLE from Meade's web site, and will try to load that as a single item. This may all be a mute point if/when Meade introduces the next rev... clear skies... Stan Glaser firstname.lastname@example.org
From: email@example.com (Kevin Berg) Responses to questions: (1) I used to get that error message, but don't anymore, and I don't know why. Regardless, this has not caused a problem using the utility for whatever purpose intended. (2) Any file sent to the Autostar should also have
next to it, then "APPLY CHANGES" should prep those "marked" files to be sent, before clicking "FINISHED". Then click "Send to Ephemerides Data". Although I seem to recall that sometimes only one marked tour will be sent at a time. Just keep trying until you see all of the Guided Tours on the Autostar. Hope that helps. The utility tool is still bug-filled, in my opinion, so what I describe may not work for everybody. One more thing - I've started from scratch many times by totally overwriting the utility tool by reinstalling it. But remember, when you reinstall it, you will get version 2.0e if you do not REPLACE the autostar.rom and dbase.rom files from Meade's web page, which when loaded using the tool will then give you 2.0g. Kevin
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